The forests are calling for all of us to benefit from their wonders this fall season.
From afar, the beauty of our forests is stunning in all its autumn splendor, and from within, the smells and sounds are like elixirs for our well-being.
Your boots crunch under the fallen branches and brittle leaves of the forest floor. The wind whispers through the trees, while a birdsong lilts above a chorus of crickets, insects, and bullfrogs. Rays of sunlight peek through the tree boughs, and fragrant balsam pines mingle with the heady smell of wet peat and fertile soil. You move deeper into the woods, noting the chipmunks and squirrels diligently burying their winter food supply, and the bees collecting whatever they can from the last of the wildflower blooms. Nearby, a fallen log comes alive with fungus, lush mosses, and ferns, a dead thing giving life to something new. What magic these wooded places hold!
Scientists, physicians, and individuals worldwide affirm that being in the forest or any green space —also known as forest bathing — has health benefits.
The woodlands’ mystery, magic, exploration, and experiences create positive life-changing mental, physical, and psychological differences by rejuvenating our spirits and increasing our energy and joy. The Japanese have known this and have practiced the art of forest bathing for centuries.
In our busy world, it may seem like we are on an accelerating treadmill that continues to speed up as our responsibilities, worries, fear, stress, and anxiety grow.
It may be difficult to practice mindful listening because we are too distracted by other aspects of life. Venturing into the woods allows us to step off the treadmill and pause, to be still and listen to what our unconscious mind may be trying to tell us.
Spending time in the woods draws attention away from ourselves and into the wild world of wonder, no matter the season. By practicing gratitude for the earth around us and marveling at how interconnected we are with our environment, we are able to decompress and emerge from the woods feeling rejuvenated. In The Sense of Wonder, Rachael Carson wrote, “There is something infinitely healing in the repeated refrains of nature – the assurance that dawn comes after night, and spring after the winter.” Spending time in a forest can increase your overall wellness by reducing stress, anxiety, depression, addiction, and risk of obesity and diabetes, and can even lower your blood pressure.
So, what wonders will you behold? Take an hour to disconnect from social media and daily life pressures, and open yourself up to seeing the world in a whole new way!